It's Time For President Obama To Speak Out by marilyn salenger

Inauguration Day 2017

Inauguration Day 2017

Our country is being split apart by a President who operates from the gutter and a Republican party that is going along for the ride. The extent of the damage that Donald Trump is doing to the United States won’t fully be known for decades, but we are living in the here and now and can no longer allow Trump’s racism and xenophobia to be a continuing path of governance.

Donald Trump has repeatedly used the power of the presidency to spew hatred and bigotry without remorse. There is no justification for his behavior or the denigration of the highest elected office in the land. Every time Donald Trump goes on the attack people think he can’t go much lower. But then the next time, and the next time, and the next time, he does just that. This past weekend Trump went too far.    

Using the pulpit of the POTUS Twitter account, he spoke words of outright racist and xenophobic hatred for four freshman Democratic Congresswomen of color. He told Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota (born in Somalia), Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts to:

“…go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done.”

Telling a person of color to go back to where you came from is a comment that is too well known by those upon whose ears it falls. It was bad enough that he uttered the words in the first place, but then he defended himself the next day saying,

“It doesn’t concern me because many people agree with me.”

With the affirmation of his own bigoted remarks, Donald Trump publically condoned racism and xenophobia to the entire world. To him, using that spear is only politics. But it’s the politics that’s letting him get away with it all.

To ask a bigot, “Why?” is to ask a question for which there is no rational intelligent answer. To ask Trump’s fellow Republicans why they, for the most part, remain silent is to understand the extent to which Donald Trump governs by fear. This new silent majority is afraid they won’t get re-elected if they speak out because Trump will intercede. Pathetically, job security is what it’s all about for these Republicans. Their weakness has done nothing but embolden Donald Trump. It’s disgraceful. All those that remain silent should lose their seats simply because they have remained silent for the past two years.

There is no living Democrat whose voice is as strong as that of President Barack Obama’s in speaking out against racial injustice and bigotry. As the first African American President elected by our country, Obama’s voice carries power unlike any other for the times in which we now find ourselves.

There is no former President who knows how it personally feels to be on the receiving end of Trump’s abject racism. A former President whose own birthright was ignorantly challenged by the same man ignorantly speaking the words he does today. Barack Obama’s voice needs to be heard once again as a clarion call to bring together as much of our country as possible and stem the fallout of the racial divide created by today’s politics.

We understand after shaking the new President’s hand and wishing him well in January 2017, you hoped for the best for all of us, President Obama. But it’s come down to living with the worst unchecked presidential behavior our democracy has witnessed.

President Obama, break your silence. These are not normal times in which former Presidents keep their thoughts to themselves out of respect for the office. This is not about endorsing a current Democratic presidential candidate. This call to you is made out of the great need we as a nation have to hear sanity again in an effort to stop the breaking apart that is taking place.

 

If Men Were The Ones To Get Pregnant Abortion Wouldn’t Be An Issue by marilyn salenger

It’s the same old story. Women are the ones who get pregnant, and men feel entitled to make laws that deal with the privacy of our bodies and reproductive rights. The debate is raging across our country once again, highlighted by a wave of new state abortion laws that take us back to the dark ages with a vengeance. Women’s lives, mentally, physically and financially are the ones at risk if forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term. When it comes to pregnancy, women are the vulnerable ones. Not men.

Something is very wrong with this picture in 2019 almost fifty years after the landmark Supreme Court ruling Roe v. Wade legalized abortion. In 1973 that law took abortion out of the alleys and bathrooms of my mother and grandmother’s generations, and opened the doors to safety in medical settings and reproductive freedom for women. Safety and choice. Remember that because its threat to disappearance is greater than it has been in decades.

To clarify - if it’s against your religious or moral beliefs no one is telling you to have an abortion. But millions of other women in this country need to continue having the legal right to make their own decisions when it comes to pregnancy. No group of religious or political extremists has a right to force their thinking on me or any other woman. I’ll respect you if you respect me.

Before the Roe v. Wade, women with little choice and desperate to end a pregnancy would resort to the worst possible that a mind could imagine and a woman’s body could endure. Coat hangers. Knitting needles. Scissors. Swallowing almost any toxic substance thought to create a self-induced abortion. Women who were married tried these things. Women who were single. Women who were raped. Women who were victims of incest. Tragically, too often those actions killed them or damaged them for life. Personal anguish met restrictive personal laws.

The death tolls from illegal abortions were staggering. In 1965, illegal abortion accounted for 17% of all deaths attributed to pregnancy and childbirth. And these are just the numbers officially reported. The actual number was likely much higher with poor women and their families disproportionately impacted.

Today we are once again faced with the reality of what a war on women looks like, and it’s ugly.

The attempt to overturn Roe v. Wade has been emboldened by the master of moral authority, Donald Trump. The man who will use and manipulate any issue to meet his own needs.

“I’m very pro-choice,” Trump said in an interview with Tim Russert in 1999. “I hate the concept of abortion. I hate it. I hate everything it stands for. I cringe when I listen to people debating the subject. But you still — I just believe in choice.”

Fast forward to Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign where he found abortion a winning issue among Evangelical Christians. It created a newly reformed man who saw the light of victory and became an ardent supporter of the anti-abortion movement while committing to the appointment of Supreme Court Justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade. All to win an election.

Donald Trump. The same man who loved playing around with women while he was married in New York City with no thought of a moral compass. The same man who allegedly had unprotected sex with porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal while he was married to our now First Lady, and had just become a new father. The same man who was recorded by an Access Hollywood reporter matter-of-factly talking about women saying, “when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.” Do we have any idea how many abortions Trump has paid for? .

And it is Donald Trump who nominated conservative Bret Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Remember him? Mr. pure and clean who played around in college but never let that interfere with his determination during confirmation hearings to throw a credible and respected woman, Professor Christine Blasey Ford, under the bus when she accused him of sexual assault. His subsequent appointment opened the right wing doors, emboldening staunch anti-abortion Republicans to line up state legislation for potential Supreme Court review. The goal: overturn Roe v. Wade.

Where is it written that laws should only govern the reproductive rights of women? Nowhere. Should a man’s penis and reproductive ability be allowed to exist without laws dealing with the impact it can have? Perhaps not.

There are approximately 500,000 vasectomies performed on men each year. It’s a procedure that makes it near impossible for a man to impregnate a woman, and is performed privately in a doctor’s office or in Planned Parenthood’s medical offices. It’s reproductive health afterall, and sometimes can be helpful to women who don’t want children or any more children. But men have a choice when they decide to have a vasectomy, and no one is threatening to take away.

There are no protestors lined up when a man walks into a medical office to have a vasectomy performed. No one screams at a man walking into a facility to have a vasectomy or shoves a picture of a fetus in his face or forces him to wait and think about it before the procedure is performed. A man’s reproductive rights have always been about the man’s decision, not a court of law telling him what to do.

If Roe v. Wade is overturned, it will not stop abortions from taking place. We know from all of the years before legalization what will happen. Women who can afford to go somewhere safe and have the procedure done, will do so. Women who can’t afford to go outside of their home area will be forced to take matters into their own hands. The estimated number of illegal abortions in the 1950’s and 1960’s ranged from 200,000 to 1.2. million a year.

I’ve been reporting on this story for a long, long time. As a young reporter in New York City, I covered the 1970 passage of the New York State law legalizing abortion three years before Roe v. Wade was enacted. Not long after, Sarah Weddington, the young attorney representing Jane Roe before the Supreme Court, and I shared a head table at a woman’s event. She spoke of her historic experience. I received an award for a television news series called “Rape”. We were living at a time of critical change for women and looked to the future to continue making life better and more equal for women. We cannot go backward.

What women are dealing with today is outrageous and insulting. It’s time to stand up once again ladies (and gentlemen inclined) and let your voices be heard.

Not Out To Lunch At 75 by marilyn salenger

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A woman’s age was supposed to be kept secret. Whether for vanity or professional reasons, that was society’s thinking for many generations. It was only in the early 70’s that revealing our age became a sign of freedom or liberation. We began to rebel against negative stereotypes and stand up for ourselves saying very simply but rather bodly, “This is who I am and this is how old I am.”

I’ve never liked stereotypes and bucked them subtly and not so subtly all of my life. With that preface, I’m happy to share with you that I’m turning 75 this week and am not an ‘old lady’ despite the years. Old is a destination. Older is the process of getting there.

The picture above was taken in November, 2018 as a casual attempt at an untouched selfie. The only thing that’s not true me in that picture is the color of my hair. I need a little help these days to get back to my natural color which I like better than the alternative. People are either very surprised or semi-shocked when I tell them how old I am. No, I don’t look my age or sound my age thanks to a great set of designer genes gifted by my mom and dad. But how am I supposed to look and sound?

People have asked me what its like turning 75, and I respond by saying it’s different than turning 74. That milestone thing conjures up a lot of thinking. It’s as if I’m bucking yet another societal norm sharing that I just don’t feel my new age, however that age is supposed to feel. I still love to work and I still love to play.

I say all of this despite having survived two different cancers in the last six years and feeling the pains of arthritis creeping into places that used to make me a pretty damn good tennis player. Some parts of growing older we could all do without. It’s not always easy, sometimes it’s scary, but then being a real grown up at any age isn’t always easy either. I came close to death at the age of 29 from a rare disease, and there hasn’t been one day since that time that I’ve taken for granted. I feel blessed and grateful beyond any words that can be written.

My generation is living longer and approaching that ridiculous term, the golden years, differently than many of those who came before us. We’re keeping at it longer, as long as we can keep at whatever it is we’re doing. We want to continue feeling valued, and don’t like being treated like an ‘old’ person when it’s done in a derogatory way. Deference is one thing. Discrimination is another.

After I left TV news, I said the next act would be the challenge. Little did I know how many acts were yet to come. The one thing I know today is that the word retirement has never been a part of my personal thought process. Work has been one of the major drivers in my life, and I’ve been my own boss for many years. Retirement is simply alien to me, and a lot of others as well. That doesn’t mean I want to work 60 hours a week. You just begin to think about time differently, and it becomes more focused on what you really want to do and how you want to spend that time.

Many people do look forward to retiring, and that’s great if it works for them. The goal for all of us, on many issues, is choice. But for too large a number over 50, 60 or 70 years of age there isn’t any choice. Age discrimination exists in more professions than not. Pervasive Ageism was the first digital story I wrote for Forbes in 2012 highlighting the issue, especially for women. It’s against the law, but often hard to win the case. The fight needs to continue.

It’s a good news/bad news time to be older and wanting to work. A majority of older Americans over 50 report being pushed out of their jobs by their employers and forced into early retirement. But the Society For Human Resource Management (SHRM) tells us that there are more people over 65 in the workforce than we’ve had in the past three decades. It simply doesn’t make me feel good knowing that a Home Depot sales person was formerly an unemployed corporate executive. Or reading a New York Times story that tells us about midlife crisis hitting as young as 30 if you’re working in the digital world. Those 30 year olds will eventually grow up to be older.

I am part of a large group that came of age with an activist spirit that drove many of us to try and empower change. And we did! This is not the time to stop. Let’s rebrand the terms senior and senior citizen which have come to be connected to many things negative that lead to unfortunate stereotyping. We need to see ads and commercials and stories that reflect our true diversity in every way.

I will always be working at something. It’s just a part of who I am. Once you’re a reporter you’re a reporter until the the end of your days. It’s how you think. How you look at things. The instinctive curiosity that pushes you to keep asking who, what, where, when and how. Those five words taught to me when I was studying to become a journalist in college have continued to drive a love of learning new things and looking for the next challenge.

Stay tuned!

Ready Or Not - It’s 2020 Time by marilyn salenger

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The good old days of the 2016 presidential campaign seem like only yesterday. Yes Trump won the electoral college. Yes Hillary won the popular vote. And yes, as each day continues to inform us, Russia played a critical role in rigging the election. There’s no ‘do over’ in our election system. Our founding fathers went for stability when they set up our Constitution, but the 2016 election has left us all hanging in a unique way.

The chaos of that time is nothing compared to what we have been living through since Donald Trump was elected. Just think back, for a moment, to Trump’s Inauguration day when our new President made a theatrical show of signing his first executive orders, including one that would advance the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. He later demanded that we believe his Inauguration had the largest crowd - ever, despite proof to the contrary, and the term “alternate facts” was coined by his advisor Kellyanne Conway in his defense.

We were off and running, and our country has been operating in a state of political chaos ever since. We’ve never quite reached recovery mode. Trump has gotten used to creating his own style of governing in an attempt to resemble autocratic role models, whether it’s Russia’s Vladimir Putin, Egypt’s president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, China’s Communist Party bosses, or the Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince. Our allies have been dismissed and too many domestic issues have been ignored or repudiated. Donald Trump’s time in office increasingly feels as if it should have an unofficial asterisk beside the title.

But the time of rude awakening is coming. There are currently close to 20 investigations surrounding this White House and President Trump, including Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 election, the Southern District Court of New York and the state of New York investigations and a growing number of congressional inquiries. The Democratic majority now in control of the House of Representatives is committed to doing what the Republicans didn’t do these past two years - provide a check and balance system to governance. While the Republicans held the majority, President Trump was basically allowed to run our government any way he wanted, with Republicans, for the most part, aiding and abetting.

The non-legal net result of all of these investigations has been to keep the tumult of 2016 election front and center in the public’s mind, creating a degree of political burnout just as the 2020 presidential race begins. How can a Democratic candidate running for President in this environment combat voter political fatigue? Come out big, strong and focused for the long haul.

In less than two months, we’ve seen a large and diverse Democratic field of presidential candidates emerge, with more announcements expected to come. The size and diversity of the field alone will make this a totally different kind of race for Democrats. While they seem to be operating with an all in mentality, there’s one potential liability based upon their sheer numbers. A big field of Democrats running for President can damage one another in the run up to the nomination. Think debates. Any damage done will absolutely be seized upon by Trump.

The large field of Republican candidates in the 2016 race wrecked havoc upon themselves leaving each with some form of scarring, and Donald Trump emerging as the last man standing. Amazingly enough, at this point in the 2020 race we can’t even say for certain whether or not President Trump will actually be the Republican nominee. The results of all of the investigations surrounding Trump will, in all likelihood, come out during the next nearly two years of campaign time. That leaves a significant question mark for Republicans going forward.

If Donald Trump leaves office before his term has officially ended, Vice President Mike Pence would assume the office of President. If yet further unforeseen circumstances arise that remove Pence from the presidency, our Constitution dictates that the next in line is the Speaker of the House. Nancy Pelosi would then be sworn in as President of the United States.

That’s an interesting scenario.

The "Humanitarian" Who Isn't: Donald Trump by marilyn salenger

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Why are 800,000 people scattered across the country still going without pay because of a partial government shutdown? There is no answer that makes any sense at this point except one - Donald Trump wants things his way or no way. If you can’t pay your rent or mortgage, buy food or put gas in your car, does he really care? It appears not. He must not have read or listened to the stories about the personal impact the shutdown is having on federal worker’s lives, or the ones on how to cook meals on very little money. The big D word, Depression, is being used to put having no money during this time in context. Businesses large and small will feel the trickle down effect as the days go on.

In order to justify his action, the President went on national television to tell us all about a “humanitarian crisis” taking place at our southern border. “A crisis of the heart, and a crisis of the soul”, he said. But whose heart and whose soul and what crisis was he talking about when there was only one ominous reference in his speech to those going without money because of the shutdown he has ordered. The true American humanitarian crisis today is the one he has created at home. Almost a million people who work for our government aren’t getting paid, not because we don’t have the money to pay them, but because they have become pawns in Trump’s political power game. The issues at our southern border need to be resolved, but at what cost?

There are so many parts of this latest Trump episode that come together to create a vivid reality of the man who is a master at diverting attention to get attention. His national address turned a prime time spotlight on once again, but that was it. It was a political speech telling us how bad the Democrats are for not giving him the $5.7 billion dollars he wants to build a wall - part of which is already in place. The shutdown and the speech take momentary attention away from special counsel Robert Mueller’s work, as well as most things Russia and Trump.

This is the first time that Democrats have control of Congress since Trump was elected, and he doesn’t seem to know how to handle it. Or Nancy Pelosi. His fall back in dealing with them has become the one thing he is used to doing when his back is against the wall. Make it an either/or situation. I win. You lose. But our democracy doesn’t work that way.

Democrats have offered $1.3 billion to enhance border security. Trump, the man who is trying to save face for his base, says it’s not enough. Who says that negotiations on border security can’t continue if 800,000 people are brought back to work and get paid? Trump and the slew of Republicans that remain under his spell.

Somehow the administration’s announcements that food stamps would be available to help some people affected by the shutdown just doesn’t do it. If all of Congress was put on mandatory food stamp allocations during this shutdown, how long do you think it would take to reopen the government?

In light of a major partial government shutdown, Donald Trump once again appears to be a little fish trying to swim in a big pond - without any swimming lessons.

Trump Cancels White House Christmas Party For The Press by marilyn salenger

The news release appearing below and its headline were written by Fox media reporter Howard Kurtz and issued today as an “Exclusive”. I have never posted an entire news release written by any organization, but believe it’s important for those not in the media to read this in entirety. You can see how the depth of pettiness and anger emanating from the White House is playing out for those journalists who cover the White House this holiday season. No announcement was made by the White House at this time.

Trump Cancels White House Christmas Party For The Press

“President Trump has canceled the White House holiday party for the media, making the decades-old tradition a victim of his increasingly contentious relationship with major news organizations.

The annual Christmas-season gathering was a significant perk for those covering the White House, as well as other Washington reporters, anchors and commentators, and New York media executives would regularly fly in for the occasion. At its peak, the invitation-only soirees grew so large that there were two back-to-back events, one for broadcast outlets and one for print organizations.

Journalists who attended the events, which featured a catered buffet of lamb chops, crab claws and elaborate desserts, got to roam the decorated mansion with a spouse or other family member, a friend or a colleague, adding to the invitation's allure.

But the biggest fringe-benefit was the picture-taking sessions, in which the president and first lady would patiently pose with guests and briefly chat with them in front of a Christmas tree, with the White House sending out the photos — copies of which were invariably sent home to mom. This would take a couple of hours, with long lines snaking across the building's first floor. Bill Clinton even posed for pictures with journalists days after he was impeached.

The White House made no announcement that it was dropping the press party. The president and first lady threw such a gathering last December but did not pose for pictures. Trump made a brief appearance with his wife and offered a few welcoming remarks.

Top White House officials, especially the communications staff, routinely circulated at these media parties and often talked shop. Last year, chief of staff John Kelly held forth with reporters for at least 15 minutes, making informal remarks that turned into a mini-press conference.

The decision is hardly shocking, given Trump’s constant attacks on "fake news" and the overwhelmingly negative coverage of him and his administration. In recent weeks, the White House pulled the credentials of CNN's Jim Acosta after he refused to give up the microphone at a news conference and restored his pass only after the network filed a lawsuit.

Trump has also twice refused to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, a tony media awards dinner attended by every president since Richard Nixon.

While dropping the media party, the White House is in the midst of a full panoply of other parties this holiday season. Selected media people generally favorable to Trump, including a few Fox News hosts, have made those guest lists.

When Democrats have been in the White House, more liberal commentators have gotten invitations, while more conservative pundits have shown up during Republican administrations.

Some critics questioned whether those who cover or comment on the White House should engage in such socializing, but few turned down the invitations. Many Trump supporters who view his coverage as unfairly harsh will undoubtedly welcome the president’s decision to exclude the media establishment, at least for this year.”

You can view the original Fox News release here:

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trump-cancels-white-house-christmas-party-for-the-press

Trump's Tawdry Life With Women And Illegal Use Of Money by marilyn salenger

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I lived in New York City for many years, as have millions of others. I lived not far from Trump Tower and the Plaza Hotel Donald Trump once owned, and Wollman Rink that now has his name splashed all over the ice skating rink. It was near impossible to miss all of the sensational stories about Donald Trump’s personal life and questionable business practices over the decades. But somehow, staring in 2015, the bold and brassy Donald thought he could pull a fast one on the country and run for President while attempting to sweep all of his dirty linen, pun intended, under the bed. He lost New York City and New York State in the 2016 election because we knew the guy. The rest of the country has been learning all about him ever since. The tawdry and illegal associated with our President has now been validated by state and Federal legal authorities, and the coverup orchestrated by Trump has formally begun to be exposed.

On April 10, 2018, I published a Political & Otherwise post entitled: Will Women Be The Ones To Bring Down Trump? Eight months later, the answer to that question has taken a giant leap forward to becoming a “yes”. Porn star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy Playmate (model) Karen McDougal have become household names since April, and the man lying about them to cover for his boss is on his way to three years in jail. Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former lawyer has pled guilty for what he described as hiding Donald Trump’s dirty deeds. He admitted that hush money had been paid to both women saying it was done at the direction of his boss. The payment of $130,000.00 to Daniels and $150,000.00 to McDougal shortly before the 2016 election is being referred to as a violation of Federal election law.

Last Spring audio tapes were found during the raid of Cohen’s office. We heard Michael Cohen’s discussion on tape with Donald Trump about putting together a shell corporation to pay for all the stuff that could be damaging to the candidate. It was factual evidence of payments to women that the President continued to deny. Today we can only wonder how many other payoffs were made and to whom.

There’s been a third man directly involved in Trump’s efforts to hide his scandals during the campaign. David Pecker has been a Trump buddy as well as publisher of the National Enquirer. who always did everything he could to help his friend. That friendship is probably history now that we’ve learned Pecker has provided key testimony to Federal prosecutors investigating Michael Cohen, and in his own way turned on Trump.

David Pecker and the Enquirer’s parent company American Media, Inc.(AMI) have negotiated an immunity deal based upon continued cooperation and a critical admission. In an agreement dated September 21, 2018 but only publicaly released on December 12, AMI admits that it worked with Trump’s campaign to kill, or not publish, stories about the presidential candidate’s relationships with women that would have been damaging to candidate Trump beginning in 2015. American Media, Inc. admitted that it made the $150,000 payment to Karen McDougal shortly before the election:

AMI’s principal purpose in entering into the agreement was to suppress the model’s story so as to prevent it from influcencing the election.

The infamous tabloid company now has a story worthy of its own front page.

The hush money paid to Daniels and McDougal by Trump’s lawyer and AMI were made shortly before one of the closet presidential elections in history. We know they were made to hide Donald Trump’s sleazy behavior from the public, especially key women voters. A year long affair with a Playboy Playmate. A brief relationship with a porn star. Both shortly after Melania Trump had given birth to their child. The man is a sleaze. That’s what we’d say privately, but now we get to say it publicaly. We also get to say he’s a crook hiding behind his current presidential shield. This is who the 2016 election elected.

There is nothing inspiring about any of this. Trump’s presidency should never have happened. It was based on lies. Facts that were never made public. And the enormous amount of egotistical naivete that Donald Trump possessed thinking he could run for President of the United States with all of his skeletons locked away. In Trump’s mind, they would never be discovered.

Don’t Let Fear And Intimidation Win: Midterms 2018 by marilyn salenger

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The midterm elections on November 6th, 2018 are firmly placed at the half way point of President Donald Trump’s term in office. In two years, Trump has worked hard to undermine our democratic principles, institutions and our place in the world order while succeeding in his efforts to turn us against one another. All this as he bathes in the light of a man obsessed with power. Donald Trump has become the antithesis of what the term “leader of the free world” was meant to describe.

This congressional election season has carried with it an intensity that’s sometimes become suffocating, sometimes invogorating in direct correlation to the extraordinary anger, bullying and fear mongering emanating from Trump. I use the word extraordinary rather than what’s become the go to word for most things describing Trump, unprecedented, because extraordinary has to be repeated and repeated to remind us how far off course our current president has led us.

Republicans now controlling the Senate and House of Representatives will go down in history as having served as Trump’s enablers. There has been no check and balance or overall concern for the greater good. Instead we have been met with arrogance and self-righteousness. Their votes have been turned into weapons of partisan negativity while their voices have gone silent when President Trump speaks words of hatred, bigotry and untruth. Their actions and silence cannot be rewarded.

In an effort to provide valuable information before you vote, I’m sharing a link to the respected statistics and analysis site FiveThirtyEight. They have created a section entitled, “Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump”. This site enables you see the actual percentages of how often every member of Congress has voted with President Trump. Look up Senators and Congressmen and women to see the reality in numbers for yourself.

This midterm election is one of the most important in many decades. It’s the only opportunity we have to curb Trump’s abuses of power and change the direction our country is headed for two more years. Every day the stakes grow higher and the imperative to vote Democratic becomes greater. We have a president who knows no shame. He leaves the shame for us to live with every day as do too many members of Congress. It’s time to clean house.

The Assault on the Supreme Court Confirmation Process by marilyn salenger

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I did not need to know or want to hear Brett Kavanaugh tell me and a Fox cable news audience that he was a virgin throughout his high school years. That he hadn’t had sexual intercourse for years after that. Seriously? This from a man who wants to be the next Supreme Court Judge. This from a man has not taken a lie detector test concerning any accusations women have made about his role in sexual assault, but went to Fox News to preach his purity and innocence.

Wrong move, Brett.

This entire Supreme Court nomination process has been wrong from the beginning. It’s brought our country to a new low when we have been wondering how much lower it can get. A cloud of shame should be hung over the Republicans promulgating this nightmare of a show that should be no show at all. There is no virtue in their behavior. Remember that as you watch the upcoming hearing.

Yes, Republicans are in the majority on Capitol Hill. Yes, we can change that in the November election. Yes, that’s what this is all about. Republicans are afraid of losing their grasp on power that enables them to appoint the next Supreme Court Justice, and apparently will do anything to get their way. Women be damned.

Remember that in November.

It’s been abhorrent to watch a group of Republican men trying to jam a Supreme Court nominee down our throats, no matter what. The Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee and their supporters don’t care to truly hear or understand the women’s voices that are coming forward to speak their intimate truths, but they’re fine with Kavanaugh’s description of his purity. I lived through the Anita Hill hearings and disgrace. How can we be there again?

This is all so tragic. As will be the confirmation hearing being held on Thursday. We will hear Brett Kavanaugh once again defend himself and Christine Blasey Ford, the first woman to come forward with allegations of sexual asault by Kavanaugh, will be interrogated. All of the angst of this production is pointless pain because Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley have already told us Kavanaugh will be confirmed in a matter of days as the next Supreme Court Justice. No matter what is said at the hearing.

Remember that in November.

There is so much wrong with this entire ordeal that in no way correlates or reaffirms the importance of the honor of the Supreme Court. The confirmation process must be changed going forward if we want to retain the integrity of our nation’s highest court. Its integrity is something we haven’t heard much about lately, only reinforcing how off course we’ve gotten.

I am ashamed of what is and has been taking place in Washington, D.C. The only good thing to come out of this entire ordeal is that younger men and women are seeing the bravery of women continuing to speak up about sexual assault.

John McCain's Farewell Comforted Us In Our Hour of Need by marilyn salenger

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In the days following his death, Senator John McCain was able to do what no individual political figure has been able to do during these past two years. He gave us a period of mourning that jarred our senses back to believing in the better part of our souls. He gave our collective lives the gift of hope, even if for a moment.          

In McCain's final letter to Americans he wrote:

"We are three-hundred-and-twenty-five million opinionated, vociferous individuals. We argue and compete and sometimes even vilify each other in our raucous public debates. But we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement. If only we remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country, we will get through these challenging times. We will come through them stronger than before. We always do."

Strength. It's what carried Senator McCain through his own life's journey, and what he encouraged us to think about in the week after his final days. It superseded politics or political party at a time when we thought nothing could. His personal story of being a combat fighter pilot shot down during the Vietnam war and held as a prisoner of war for five years, had all the makings of legendary before his death. But the postscript of his meticulously pre-planned funerals will now be etched into modern times. 

The Republican Senator from Arizona brought us together again, a feat that could only be described as herculean at this point in time. There wasn't one large funeral, but multiple steps along the way that made us feel as if John McCain was paying us respect, as we sought to pay him ours. A unique thread of determined purpose that often broke with tradition was unveiled over days.

He bid farewell to his beloved Arizona, lying in state at its Capital in Phoenix. Sharing the most private of times with the public becomes part of the way of life for many political families, but it's never easy. There was enormous poignancy in the impromptu moments of John McCain's farewell that continually brought us back to the man himself as a husband, father and grandfather. The image of Cindy McCain resting her head of his casket was heartbreaking. Anyone who has experienced loss understood.

But when his time at the Capital had ended, Senator McCain exited in a way that could only bring a smile and was definitely unique to the man. Music began to play unexpectedly with Frank Sinatra singing "My Way". Of course.

We learned which public figures he personally asked to speak at all of the services in his honor, and which one he did not. The funeral at the Phoenix North Baptist Church began McCain's last shout out across the political isle with bi-partisan becoming the mantra of his farewell. First it was former Vice President and long time friend Joe Biden who identified himself as he began to speak, "My name is Joe Biden. I'm a Democrat and I loved John McCain." He continued to tell us,  "It wasn’t about politics with John. You could disagree on substance. It was about the underlying values that animated everything John did." Biden  spoke of the McCain's call for civility and respect in the era of partisanship and divisiveness. "John believed so deeply and so passionately in the soul of America."

So much was personal in Senator McCain's farewell, even if you never met him. It was hard not to have some part of the week touch you. As the former pilot began his last flight from the Phoenix airport en route to Washington, D.C., we heard air traffic controllers giving their directions and then softly adding a personal farewell to the man they have guided on so many flights, "We"d like to say good by to a man who has meant so much... And there they go...we'll direct them back to Andrews Air Force Base."

Senator John McCain became the 32nd person in history to lay in state in the Rotunda of our nation's Capitol. His colleagues in Congress paid their respects to a man who had spent over three decades in the U.S. Senate. At his pointed request, and contrary to tradition, both Democrat and Republican leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives jointly placed wreaths around his casket. 

The final public tribute took place at Washington's National Cathedral that was filled to capacity with invited guests. Three former Presidents of the United States, Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama stood inside waiting to honor a man who was both opponent and ally. 

Every funeral service has its eulogies, but never had a United States Senator asked two men who defeated him in his presidential runs, to address those gathered in mourning. John McCain did just that. As President Obama said, "What better way to get a last laugh than to make George (Bush) and I say nice things about him to a national audience. And most of all, it showed a largeness of spirit, an ability to see past differences in search of common ground." President Bush added, "John is the first to tell you he was not a perfect man but he dedicated his life to national ideals that are as perfect as men and women have yet conceived."

Since 2016, we as a country have, in large part, been looking for someone to help lift us up from the depths brought upon us by the actions our current President. It sadly took the death of the Senator John McCain to help us pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and realize once again that coming together for a greater good benefits us all. With all that lay ahead in coming weeks, we need to vividly remember what has taken place during the last week of August 2018, and the feelings it inspired.